Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2021
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Thu 18 Mar 2021, 11:55 AM
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There are a lot of ways to write out an exact date and time, but for the sake of international standards, dates in JSON and other interchange formats should be written using ISO 8601. But even that gives us options. The following two dates represent the exact same moment in time, but do they represent the exact same information?
 
"@created""2021-02-22T16:32:19Z"
 
"@created""2021-02-22T11:32:19.53-05:00"
 
While they are considered equivalent, are they? What is the piece of metadata that is lost in the first but not the second? It is the original time zone in which the document was created.
 
Now, this may seem unimportant. In most cases, it probably is unimportant. But if there is one thing I have learned in my years converting data from one format to another, and especially in doing roundtripping or synching of data that must coexist in two different platforms, it is that every detail is precious some of the time or to some of the people. In meeting invites, we see both when the invitation is and what time zone it was created it. If we convert to the first of these two formats and then back, we lose that information, or even if we just pull it out for display elsewhere, we won't have it.
 
Now, I want to be clear that even the second format is risky. A standard JSON parser that recognize dates may turn these both into the same timedate object. But a savvy parser in a system that has the capability to store time zones will store that time zone with the second format. It can't with the first. The detail is simply lost.
 
Addendum: Just a quick follow up to this. In reality, you can't determine the time zone itself from the time offset, but you can calculate the local time in which the time was created. Therefore, we offer an option to use an extended construct for Notes time date item values that gives the time zone as a separate value along with the time and date, e.g., "StartTime": {"zone":"EST", "value":"2021-03-01T10:30:00.00-05:00"}

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Mon 15 Mar 2021, 10:12 PM
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While Genii Software is best known for our Notes/Domino related coexistence and migration products, we work in other areas as well. But both inside and outside of Notes/Domino, our core business is really data movement. If you have data in some format or encapsulation, and you need it in some other format or encapsulation, that's what we do. Whether you need the data to move for a moment, for the duration of a project, or forever, we help you move it.
 
The challenge for me is usually not the format or system or structure the data is going to, but the format or system or structure the data is coming from. Often older, outdated systems, though certainly not always, I need to understand as much or more about the source as the destination. Which is why I spend time building new design and new data into things like Infopath Forms that are already facing EOL. Because when that data needs to go elsewhere and fit into some other design (whether Microsoft Power Apps or Salesforce Lightning Apps or whatever), we need to be able to understand the data we are likely to see, and the stuff we are less likely to see, but still will because developers will use anything. we need to be prepared for structures allowed in one system but not in another, especially multi-value anything (e.g., repeating tables), as those tend to be implemented differently in different systems.
 
So, I am creating forms that will never be used by anybody but me, all to be ready for you.

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Wed 3 Mar 2021, 10:57 PM
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Barely a week goes by when I don't hear the question "But can you take my Notes data and move it into <Shiny New Thing>?" Sometimes, the question goes the other way around. Either way, the answer is almost certainly yes. When it comes right down to it, one of the things we excel at is moving data around.  Chances are even good we can move from <Shiny New Thing One> to <Even Shinier New Thing Two>. (Companies do like shiny.) Moving data accurately and well is critical whether you want to move your data for a project, for a moment, or forever.
 
We might already have a tool for it. We might need to pull together some different custom tools we have. We might need to use Midas or Exciton or sheer magic. But we can most likely get your data moved, and we can most likely do it with the highest fidelity available. We are not as cheap as that freeware tool you can download from <Shady Website Du Jour>, but we also don't bring the viruses along with us. We might not have the sales team to take you out to a fancy meal before lifting your wallet and dumping it out on the table.
 
We just care about data. We are especially good with Notes data, kind of a speciality of the house, but we are quite adept with other data as well. You might need it in JSON or XML or CSV or HTML, or most likely some combination. Whatever your shiny new thing is, we can help you get your data there, and make sure it shines too when it gets there. The image below includes some of the formats we support, but there are plenty  more that are specialized variants, so don't hesitate to ask. Just know that the answer is probably yes, and that even if it isn't, we can probably turn it into a yes in short order. We're good that way. If you want to ask this question or any others, I can be reached at . I look forward to hearing about the data you need for your shiny new thing.
 
 
Data retrieval, migration, and archiving
 

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Mon 1 Mar 2021, 03:25 PM
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This week, I'll hit my blog's 18th birthday. With over nine posts a month on average, I've kept this going far longer than I would have expected. Sometimes, people even seem to read the darn thing.
 
Thanks for reading. Thanks for putting up with the dating advice to my daughter, the nonsensical tales of Mike Midas and Crystal Coex, the endless ponderings, and the incessant self-promotion. Without you, this blog would be totally pointless. So, thanks. On a different blog, I might try to come up with highlights, but the biggest highlight for me is just being here.
 

Copyright 2021 Genii Software Ltd.